Date of Incident: August 15, 1998
Section of River: Labyrinth Canyon
Location on River: Mile 42.5
Relative Flow: Low
Gage Reading: 4,600 cubic feet per second
Difficulty: Flat Water
Type of Incident: Illness
Type of Trip: Private
Type of Boat: Canoes
A 30 year old woman, a member of a canoe party, suffered a miscarriage at a river camp. Members of the group were sent for help at 05:00, and they hiked one mile upstream until they could cross the river to Hardscrabble Bottom, and then hiked 9 miles on the White Rim Road to Mineral Bottom where the incident was reported to the BLM Ranger at 10:15. The BLM Ranger relayed the information to the Moab Fire Center and the Park Service was notified.
Of the two helicopters in the region, one was on another call and the other was unavailable. Thus, the first helicopter solicited arrived with a Park Ranger at 12:45. Meanwhile, a Park Patrol boat with two Rangers was dispatched from Moab. The helicopter departed at 13:10 with the patient and her husband, and the Rangers retrieved the couple's canoe and equipment transporting it to Mineral Bottom by boat and to Moab by truck.
1) Medical helicopters respond to requests in the order in which they are received. In this case the reply to the need of the river party was delayed by an hour. Even so, the patient was fortunate that her group was located in a position from which it could request assistance.
2) The rapid response of the Rangers is made possible by the policy of the Canyonlands National Park to consider no incident complete until all boats and equipment are prepared for another.